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July 2018 Newsletter

In This Issue:

Welcome from the Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

Welcome to another feature-packed edition of our newsletter. This month has seen a real focus on skills as we try to address one of the region’s most pressing issues. We had a great group of students attend our second Shearing and Wool Handling School in Glen Innes, an activity that will now be a permanent fixture for students and jobseekers from within the region and beyond.

We also welcome the announcement that our region has been selected for a Regional Employment Trial that will provide $1m for grass-roots projects that address unemployment issues. RDA Northern Inland will pay a key part in this initiative which kicks off soon.

We’re continuing our great work with Local Councils right across the region to apply for funding for the projects that matter to your communities, so be sure to get in touch if you need any assistance or advice.

Regards,

Russell Stewart
Chair

Students Flock to Shearing School

Inverell's Macintyre High School Students have flocked to Wool Works, a new shearing school initiative. The 20 students in their mid-teens appreciated the hands-on education. The first three-day school was held this week from Monday to Wednesday. 

“By providing young people with agricultural skills at an early age, we are securing their footing on a career path in the industry,” RDANI Chair Russell Stewart said. “Our October 2017 one-day trial was a real success and the level of interest we are fielding from schools near and far is a positive for the agricultural sector”

Wool Works is a shearing and wool handling program for secondary school students coordinated by Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) at the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Glen Innes Agricultural Research and Advisory Station.

As Assistant Minister for Skills and Member for Northern Tablelands, the Hon. Adam Marshall visited the Wool Works Shearing School on Tuesday. “It is great to see young people taking an early interest in acquiring an important skill in rural NSW like shearing,” he said. “This initiative is delivered by a team of individuals and organisations, working to make a difference where a need was identified; from what I saw, they are doing just that.”

“I was thrilled to see so many enthusiastic students from Macintyre High taking advantage of this opportunity – they even helped me learn a thing or two about fleece management,” Mr Marshall said.
“Our planned initial trial in October 2016 was washed out, and with the rain arriving for this one, the school is a good luck omen. Fortunately, the sheep were dry in the shearing shed and the rain brought nothing but smiles,” Project Coordinator and RDANI Executive Director Nathan Axelsson said.

Thanks to Australian Wool Innovation, experienced shearers Ross Thompson and Leo Fittler instructed and supervised, while the students rolled up their sleeves and had a go. Experienced TAFE Trainers, Pauline Smith and Kim Jenkins showed what working the shearing shed floor entails. Regional Manager for Prime Super Annette Mackay gave the rural students a presentation on basic financial literacy and the importance of superannuation.

“Given the interest from schools and what this means for the wool industry into the future, we are now aiming to run more regular Wool Works Shearing Schools per year, for school students and job seekers,” Mr. Axelsson said.

Long-time advocate for rural youth employment initiatives, Russell Stewart is thrilled with the response the project has received. “This is the sort of grass-roots practical initiative we want to see linked to the Australian Government’s recently announced Regional Employment Trials Program,” he said. “It’s not just about shearing or wool-handling, the shed is a great environment to learn teamwork, work ethics, camaraderie and to contribute to the development of the work attitude our rural employers want to see in young people. In a shearing shed, everyone focusses on getting the job done.”

The Wool Works shearing and wool handling program is unique. It is providing introductory training and nurturing interest in a vital skill-in-demand in rural Australia. It has been made possible through collaboration between RDANI, NSW DPI, Northern Tablelands Local Land Services, TAFE New England, Glen Innes Severn Council, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), Prime Super and Heiniger, with the Rotary Club of Glen Innes supplying the catering. Sheep were supplied by John Newsome of Elders Glen Innes.

Northern Inland Selected for Regional Employment Trials Program

Ten regions across the country, including our own, will benefit from a new Government employment trial that will enable local organisations, who understand the issues on the ground, to design solutions to employment challenges. The Government is investing $18.4 million under the Regional Employment Trials Program, a 21-month program designed to support local networks to promote employment in regional areas.

Within the Northern Inland, Employment Facilitators will work with Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees to develop local employment projects that will bid from an available $1m fund.

Examples of projects that could be funded include:

  • using experienced or retired residents, and local business leaders in a mentoring program
  • preparing job seekers for an up-coming infrastructure project
  • work experience programs that provide local employment opportunities.

Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Senator Michaelia Cash said the program will directly support local employment projects.

“We are bringing together all available expertise at the local and regional level to develop positive employment outcomes,” Minister Cash said. “This is an initiative which utilises skills already on the ground and by investing in local employment programs we are strengthening the local economy to the benefit of everyone in the community.”

Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government, John McVeigh said Northern Inland NSW had been selected as part of the trial. “This is the Government again putting in place policies to ensure that people who want to work have the opportunity to get work, no matter where they live in the region,” Dr McVeigh said. “We know that employment is key in strengthening the economy, particularly in rural and regional communities.”

The Department of Jobs and Small Business will run a competitive tender process to appoint Employment facilitators. For more information, visit www.jobs.gov.au/purchasing.

The Trials will start on 1 October 2018 and run until 30 June 2020.

The trial regions are:
New South Wales

  • Northern Inland RDA region
  • Far South Coast RDA region

Victoria

  • Melbourne (Western Melbourne/North Western Melbourne Employment Regions only)
  • Gippsland RDA region

Queensland

  • Townsville and North West (Townsville Employment Region only)
  • Wide Bay Burnett RDA region

South Australia

  • Murraylands and Riverland RDA Region
  • Yorke and Mid North RDA Region

Western Australia

  • Peel RDA Region

Tasmania

  • Tasmania (North and North Western Tasmania Employment Region only)

Are You Ready for Inland Rail?

The inland rail project that will provide 1,700km of fast, reliable, and modern rail link between Melbourne and Brisbane, connecting our cities, farms and mines via ports to domestic and international markets. Through the $9.3 billion commitment from the Australian Government, it is expected that it will add more than $16 billion to Australia’s GDP in the next fifty years and reduce emissions by 750,000 tonnes. The rail link will pass through the western part of the Northern Inland Region, through Narrabri, Moree, and North Star.

The inland rail has the potential to provide long-term benefits to regional and rural communities through what is deemed to be a once in a generation opportunity. To help communities make the most of the potential long-term benefits that the railway can provide, staff from the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities will be available to work with businesses and communities and the Regional Australia Institute is currently developing the ‘Are You Ready for Inland Rail’ strategic planning tool. This tool, which will be available from September this year, will utilise the experience and expertise that the RAI has in developing strategic tools to help communities capitalise on the benefits the Inland Rail will bring.

Further information about the Inland Rail project, including maps of the railway’s route and project updates is available on the Inland Rail website. Contact details for the Inland Rail Regional Liaison Officers that are located in Toowoomba, Dubbo and Wodonga are available on the Regional Development Australia website here.

Drought Assistance for Farmers

The Australian and NSW Governments have a range of funding opportunities and support programs to help farmers through these tough times.
Australian Government Assistance Includes:

  • The Regional Investment Corporation
  • The Managing Farm Risk Program
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Pest and Weed Management
  • Free financial counselling through the Rural Financial Counselling Service.
  • Tax Measures

NSW State Government Assistance Indludes:

  • The online DroughtHub
  • Farm Innovation Fund
  • Drought Assistance Fund,
  • Funding for additional co-ordinators for the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health and the National Association for Loss and Grief.
  • Farm Business Skills Professional Development Program
  • The installation of three new Doppler radar weather stations in Western NSW

Assistance for Mental and Physical Health and a Positive Future
The stress of ongoing drought is not just financial, it takes a significant mental and physical toll as well. Support is available through a wide variety of organisations, allowing the right help to be found. The NSW Government provides assistance through the Rural Resilience Program and the NSW Department of Primary Industries has an index of other support in their Wellbeing section of the DroughtHub.

Further details on the support available is provided on drought assistance page in our website here.

New England Joint Organisation of Councils Formed

On the 25th of June, the New England Joint Organisation of Councils held its inaugural meeting lead by Chairman Michael Pearce. The joint organisation is made up of Armidale Regional, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell, Moree Plains, Narrabri, Tenterfield and Uralla Councils and will receive $300,000 seed funding from the NSW State Government to aid their establishment.

By acting collectively, the Councils can work collaboratively for the mutual benefit of their communities, as highlighted by Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall. “The group will now be able to prioritise and plan strategic development, including in infrastructure, share resources, provide strong advocacy and regional leadership.” “Speaking as one voice on issues that go across council boundaries is crucial and so obviously advantageous and valuable, and the real benefits are economic with huge opportunities to save millions each year in working together for joint tendering procurements and contract arrangements”.

Cr Pearce said one of the first big ticket items would be investigating a waste-to-energy project and the potential to involve the whole region. “The major advantage of the JO is that member councils are in a better position to lobby the government for investment opportunities as a group rather than as single, individual council voices,” Cr Pearce said.

$3.5M Towards Economic Prosperity and Road Safety for Moree Plains Shire

The Hon. Melinda Pavey, Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight has committed to a one-off contribution of $3.5m towards Moree Plains Shire Council’s efforts to seal Carrigan Road (MR507), recognising the road’s importance as a vital link for communities and agribusiness.

Carrigan Road in Moree Plains Shire’s north, spans 150 kilometres and provides a strategic connection from the Newell Hwy in Goondiwindi through to Boomi and Mungindi, as well as access to a large number of agricultural properties and residences. The road is heavily used for the movement of produce and is recognised as being critical to road network connectivity, however it is the only Regional Road in the Shire that remains unsealed. Due to the large number of flood-ways and water crossings, Carrigan Road is often rendered impassable following relatively minor rain events which results in its closure for an average of 33 days per annum.

“Council has been committed to sealing Carrigan Rd for many years but given the cost to seal the 56km section is around $15 million, there is no way Council could undertake the project without support from the State or Federal Governments”, said Mayor Katrina Humphries. “The Moree Plains may be the most productive agricultural Shire in Australia, but unless our produce can get to market that productivity means nothing.”

“Improving this road will allow producers to take advantage of positive commodity prices through guaranteeing delivery regardless of weather. It will ensure that kids can get to school safely, and farm employees can get to and from work.” Moree Plains Shire Council will continue pursuing other funding avenues for the project as the $3.5M will only provide for sealing of approximately 13km of the road, leaving 43km still unsealed. “We know we’ve got a way to go to deliver the full 56 kilometres required to truly unleash the economic potential of the properties on Carrigan Rd and ensure our communities stay connected and safe, but this is a great start.” Councillor Humphries added.

Investing in Telecommunications Infrastructure and Communities

In July last year, Optus CEO Allen Lew visited Tamworth to announce that Optus will be spending $1 billion to improve and expand its mobile network in regional and remote Australia. At the same time of this announcement, Mr Lew committed $4.5 million of that funding to improve mobile coverage across the New England district.  Since then, Optus has already invested more than $650,000 in the New England district, building a brand new mobile tower in Inverell Central that will improve 4G mobile network coverage and customer experience across the region.

Optus’ Territory General Manager North West NSW, Chris Simon says Optus’ investment in the region is not only improving mobile coverage but providing locals with another option when selecting their mobile network provider.

“We want to give those living in regional and remote Australia a choice when they are deciding on their preferred mobile network. Just because you don’t live in a major city, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have other options,” Mr Simon said.

“You don’t have to buy the same car, refrigerator or even brand of milk when you live in regional or remote Australia, so why should everyone have to choose the same mobile network provider?”

“Our team continue to work with local business chambers across the region, providing guidance for their members and ensuring they’re kept up to date with the latest in technology to further improve productivity”, said Mr Simon.

Optus have also invested in its local communities through a range of sponsorships and local programs across the region. “This year Optus was a supporting sponsor of the Tamworth Country Music Festival and participated in a number of community fundraisers and awards programs.”

“As a company who loves its sport, Optus is proud to be supporting sport at a grass roots level. We currently partner Little Athletics programs in Gunnedah, Tamworth and Armidale and are Club Sponsors of regional football clubs, Inverell FC, East Armidale United FC and East Tamworth FC,” Mr Simon added.

As one of Australia’s largest telecommunications companies Optus delivers its superfast 4G Plus mobile network coverage to 96.9 percent of the Australian population and as the company moves beyond July 2018, it will be furthering its commitment to both regional Australia and the communities of the New England region.

Optus has plans to invest more than $6.75 million in the next financial year for new towers in Wallangarra, Attunga, Duri, Piallamore, Moonbi, the Bruxner Highway, Mount Carrington, Barraba, Armidale, Bendemeer, Pinkett, Urbenville, Kingswood and across Tamworth. Optus is providing more Australians with an improved Optus network with better call quality and more reliable data services.

Featured Grants and Funding Opportunities

Below are some featured grants and funding opportunities from around 75 open grants listed in the Grants and Funding Opportunities area of our website. Our website is updated weekly with new listings and updates and all are applicable to our region, so it is a great resource if you are looking for funding for a specific project.

You can also sign up to our Business and Infrastructure Funding Opportunities and the Community Grants and Award Programs newsletters through the simple form located on the left-hand side of our website to receive monthly summaries of currently open grants.

Resources for Regions
Closes: Round 6 closes 23rd of July 2018
Value: Mimimum of  $1 million up to an unspecified amount
Run By: NSW Government

Resources for Regions aims to deliver improved local infrastructure to mining-related communities and improve economic growth and productivity in NSW.

Resources for Regions is for projects that promote the development of economic and social infrastructure:

Economic infrastructure includes roads, rail, facilities that improve the movement of freight, airports, and local water and sewerage projects and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and businesses.

Social infrastructure includes recreational facilities, childcare services and other infrastructure related to the delivery of community services.

The minimum grant amount is $1 million and there is no maximum grant amount. All projects must have a minimum financial co-contribution of 25 per cent of the total grant amount. The co-contribution for the project must be from sources other than the NSW Government and commitments must be confirmed before detailed applications are assessed.

An exemption from the minimum 25 per cent co-contribution may be granted where a project is located in a disadvantaged area of NSW. The program guidelines contain more information on this exemption.

Coles Nurture Fund
Annual Round Opens Soon
Value: Up to $500,000
Run By: Coles Supermarkets Australia

Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd (Coles) has launched an initiative to assist existing small to medium Australian producers, farmers and manufacturers to innovate and grow their business.

Coles has announced the Coles Nurture Fund (CNF), and will allocate $50 million over five years intended to encourage businesses to develop new market-leading products, technologies, systems and processes. Through the CNF, existing small to medium businesses may apply for funding to enable them to take the next step in creating value for business and customers.

Coles will allocate $10 million a year to fund the CNF for five years, comprising $5 million per annum allocated for grants and another $5 million per annum allocated for interest-free loans. The maximum single grant of funds or loan under the CNF is $500,000.

To be eligible for funding from the CNF Applicants must:
(a) have a turnover that is less than $25,000,000 per annum;
(b) employ no more than 50 full time employees (excluding casual seasonal labour);
(c) have a registered Australian Business Number;
(d) have been trading for a minimum of two years;
(e) provide audited financial statements for a minimum of the previous two financial years;
(f) provide a funding declaration from an external accountant on the accountant’s company letterhead confirming ability to fund applicant’s share of project costs and solvency.

Connecting Country Communities Fund
Closing date: 15th of August 2018
Run By: NSW Government

To invest in communications infrastructure and deliver improved regional voice and data connectivity. This fund will build and upgrade mobile base stations, connect businesses to global markets and schools with innovative learning resources. Valued at $50 million, the Connecting Country Communities Fund incorporates the Mobile Black Spots Program and the Regional Digital Connectivity Program.

Under the Mobile Black Spot Program, The NSW Government has committed more than $39 million from the Connecting Country Communities Fund to assist mobile network carriers with the cost of building mobile base stations. This investment will lead to the greatest increase in mobile coverage to regional and remote communities delivered by a single public funding program in the history of Australian mobile communications.

Under the Regional Digital Connectivity Program, the NSW Government is working with the telecommunications industry to identify opportunities to use existing government assets and install new infrastructure to provide more consistent access to high-speed internet services in regional NSW. The RDC Program aims to enable digital connectivity in the regions that is comparable to the quality of services available in metropolitan areas of the state.

If you live or work in regional NSW and experience regular problems with mobile phone coverage and/or digital connectivity, complete the questionnaire on the available on the NSW Government website here or call 1300 679 673, by 15 August 2018. This information will be provided to the NSW Telco Authority and service providers for planning and investment to improve mobile coverage and internet access across regional NSW.

Canon Oceania Grants
Closing date: 20th of July 2018
Value: Up to $5,000 including case and products
Run By: Canon

In the spirit of their guiding philosophy of Kyosei - living and working together for the common good, Canon has proudly supported community and environmental groups throughout Oceania for the last 11 years.

This program supports schools, not-for-profit and community groups who are addressing both social and environmental issues in their community and inspiring change for future generations.

Canon are offering seven grants, each worth $5,000 of Canon equipment and money in-kind across Australia in the following categories:
1 x Environmental Grant - $4,000 product & $1,000 cash
1 x Education/School Grant - $4,000 product & $1,000 cash
1 x Community/social Grant - $4,000 product & $1,000 cash
1 x Runner-up Grant - $1,000 product

What's On in the Northern Inland

Food Agility CRC Information Session
Tuesday 17th of July
Armidale

Lions Lego Balloon Car Racers
Wednesday 18th of July – Wee Waa
Friday 20th of July – Boggabri

Hanging Rock Christmas in July
Saturday 21st of July
Hanging Rock

Chill In Glen
Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd of July
Glen Innes

Flag Ceremonies at the Standing Stones
July to December
Glen Innes

Uralla Shire Business Chamber Excellence Awards
Friday 27th of July
Uralla

Narrabri Boarding Schools Expo
Friday 27th and Saturday 28th of July
Narrabri

Bellata Christmas in July Black Tie Ball
Saturday 28th of July
Bellatta

Byron Writers Festival
Sunday 29th of July
Tenterfield

Local Government Week
Monday 30th of July to Sunday 5th of August
Quirindi

Rural Focus Symposium
Thursday 2nd of August
Armidale

Annual Tamworth Antique and Collectables Fair
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th of August
Tamworth

International Film Festival
Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th of August
Armidale

Education Week
Wednesday 1st to Friday 10th of August
Quirindi

Armidale Regional Business Awards
Friday 10th of August
Armidale

Gunnedah Business and Services Awards
Friday 10th of August
Gunnedah

Inverell Business Awards
Saturday 11th of August
Inverell

Raising Amazing Girls Workshop
Wednesday 8th of August
Armidale

Mungindi Show, Aussie FMX and Weber Cook Off
Saturday 11th of August
Mungindi

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